Sunday, April 3, 2011

Americans Wurth-Thomas, Rhines Headline 2011 Carlsbad 5000

2009 race champion Aheza Kiros of Ethiopia returns for 26th Running of the "World's Fastest 5K"

CARLSBAD, Calif. - (March 29, 2011) - Off her past two
performances in the Carlsbad 5000, Ethiopian Aheza
should be considered the favorite for the race's 26th running on
Sunday, April 3, 2011. However, there is a strong international field arrayed
against her, including U.S. Olympians Christin Wurth-Thomas and
Jen Rhines .

Kiros, the 2009 champion and 2010 runner-up to world record
holder Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, has a 5000m personal best of
14:56.33 on the track from 2009, and has run 15:26 at Carlsbad. The 25-year-old
Ethiopian, who lives in Addis Ababa after growing up in the Tigray region, began
running at a young age and almost always won her races during physical education
classes. By the age of 16, she was representing her school at the All-Ethiopian
School Championships, winning the 5000m. Now, she is mostly a 10,000 meter
runner and represented Ethiopia at that distance at the 2007 World

In addition to the two top Americans, Kiros can expect
challenges from Pauline Konikwiang of Kenya, seventh at the
recent World Cross Country Championships and the national Junior record holder
with a 5000 PR of 14:45.98, who is making her debut on the roads; Olesya
of Russia, the European indoor silver medalist over 3000 meters,
the national indoor record-holder for two miles with a 5000 PR of 15:19.96; Eloise
of Australia, the 2010 national 5000 and 10,000 champion with
a 5000 PR of 14:54.11, and Adrienne Herzog of the Netherlands,
the national record holder for two miles with a 5000 PR of 15:34.37.

Meanwhile, Wurth-Thomas and Rhines should be in close pursuit of
Kiros. Wurth-Thomas, the 2008 U.S. indoor champion at 1500 meters, the 2007 and
2009 outdoor runner-up and 2008 Olympian, is looking to improve her endurance by
running a 5K.

"I'm excited to run a good race," said the 30-year-old
Wurth-Thomas. "My training has been going very well, so why not? I'm coming
off an 11-second PR indoors. I'm pretty fit and ready to go, so the sky's the
limit. I'm looking for competition. This will be my first outdoor race (of the

Wurth-Thomas also is anxious to compete in front of the
enthusiastic Carlsbad fans.

"The community and the town are amazing," the former
Arkansas standout added. "It's fun to see so many people come out for the
race. It's unique. There's always great support from the spectators, and I want
to get back there and medal this time."

Her 5000 PR is 15:28.04 at Mt. SAC in 2008. "I would be
happy with between 15:20 and 15:30 (on Sunday)," said Wurth-Thomas, who ran
16:06 at Carlsbad in 2009 and is one of only five Americans to break four
minutes for 1500 meters with a clocking of 3:59.59 last year. In her most recent
race, she easily won the 3000 meters at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 14.

After Carlsbad, her plan is to run two more 5000s, at Mt. SAC
and Stanford, before concentrating on the 1500 with races at that distance at
the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., New York and Rome before returning to
Eugene in June for nationals and the trials for the World Championships.

Rhines also is excited about competing again at Carlsbad. Four
years ago, she finished second to Defar in her road PR of 15:21.

"I feel really strong," the ex-Villanova runner said.
"I've been running some longer races. Now, I'm transitioning to shorter

The Mammoth Track Club athlete has won back-to-back U.S. road
titles over the half-marathon and 15K, with her most recent win over the
9.3-mile distance at Jacksonville in 49:34 on March 12. A seasoned veteran at
36, she has competed at three Olympics (2000, 2004 and 2008) at three different
distances (5000, 10,000 and the marathon). She also has run in four outdoor
World Championships, one World Indoor, four World Cross Country Championships
and one World Athletics final.

Rhines started her career as a sprinter in the eighth grade.
"I just kept moving up every year," she said.

"Now, I'd really like to break 31 minutes (for the 10,000)
before I'm done," said Rhines, whose PR is 31:17.31 (in 2007). "The
10,000 is going to be my focus for nationals and the World Championships."

Her goal for Sunday is about 15:22. "But in a road race,
it's hard to predict what the time will be." She said. "Some road
races are fast, some are slow. I'm comfortable with a tactical race. I like to
keep up with the pack. I don't run well off the pace. It should be a very
competitive race."

"I enjoyed running there before," she added. "I'm
glad to get back to Carlsbad. You definitely get a lot of support from the
crowd. Your name is on your bib and people recognize you and cheer for

Both the U.S. and world records for 5000 have been set at the
Carlsbad 5000, which is internationally known as the "World's Fastest
5K." Defar established the world mark of 14:46 in 2006 and Deena
set the U.S. mark of 14:54 in 2002.


Defending race hampion - Eliud Kipchoge - eyes World Record at
Carlsbad 5000 CLICK here.

About the Carlsbad 5000

The 26th running of the Carlsbad 5000 annually attracts amateur, competitive and
professional runners from around the world. Race day begins at 7:05am with the
Masters Men 40 and over, the first of nine races that will take place throughout
the morning. The main event, featuring the world's fastest professional
athletes, begins at 12:15pm. The event is the home of the current world 5K road
records: 13:00, Sammy Kipketer (KEN), 2000 & 2001, and
14:46, Meseret Defar (ETH), 2006. With 16 world records in its
prestigious history, it has the most world records all-time set on the same
certified road course. In addition, it is the only road race from a commonly run
distance in the world that is home to the world records and its home country
records for both genders.

For more information, visit:

Special thanks to
Ryan Lamppa, Running USA Media Services Director.
385 Oak View Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93111
(805) 696-6232, fax (805) 967-5958

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